Friday, July 10, 2009

DVD Views: The Unborn

The Unborn *
Directed By:
David S. Goyer.
Written By: David S. Goyer.
Starring: Odette Yustman (Casey Beldon), Gary Oldman (Rabbi Sendak), Cam Gigandet (Mark Hardigan), Meagan Good (Romy), Idris Elba (Arthur Wyndham), Jane Alexander (Sofi Kozma), Atticus Shaffer (Matty Newton), James Remar (Gordon Beldon), Carla Gugino (Janet Beldon).

The Unborn is a series of “Boo!” moments in search of a story. Almost every scene in The Unborn contains one of those cheap scare moments, where something jumps out at the audience from off camera to try and scare us. When you combine that with all the dream sequences, the movie is made up of pretty much one cliché after another.

The movie stars Odette Yustman (no, I have never heard of her either and judging on her performance here, I may never hear of her again) as Casey Beldon, a young college student who strange things start happening to. While baby sitting, a young boy attacks her with a mirror, cutting her eye. When she goes to the eye doctor to get it checked out, she finds out that she has a genetic disorder. It turns out, that she had a twin brother that died in utereo, that she never knew about. More strange things happen to her - people around her keep getting possessed by some sort of demon who really wants Casey. Her brother, it seems wants to be born.

Jane Alexander, that great actress from the 1970s, is stuck in the thankless role of the old woman who knows all the secrets, and imparts them to Casey, before of course, being attacked herself. Gary Oldman plays a Rabbi who thinks he can help Casey perform an exorcism and get rid of the demon once and for all. Then there is Cam Gigander as Casey’s boyfriend and Meagan Good as her best friend, and various other characters including Idris Elba as a priest, who just seem to be around to raise the body count.

Perhaps I would have liked The Unborn more - not enough to recommend it, but at least more than I did, had I seen it in the theaters when it came out in January instead of waiting for video. In the intervening months, Sam Raimi’s similarly plotted Drag Me to Hell has been released, and that is just about a pitch perfect horror movie in this vein. The writing, the filmmaking and most importantly the performance by the lead actress (Alison Lohman) were all great in that movie, and makes The Unborn look like amateur hour. There is not a moment in this movie that is scary. Not even all those Boo moments, as after the first couple we start to completely mistrust the movie. Writer/director David S. Goyer, who is a good writer sometimes, but always an awful director, just has no idea how to make an effective horror movie.

The film’s final scene (and in case you have not figured it out I will add a SPOILER warning) is meant to be shocking, and perhaps had the film been made 50 years ago it would have. But nowadays there are clinics that you can go to and get your demon spawn sucked out of you. I doubt even the pro-life crowd would object to killing a demon.

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